by Lin Nulman
To Clean or Not to Clean? No Question!
The fact that you don’t live in your own house doesn’t mean you must treat it with any less care—a rental apartment can, and should feel like home. I know mine does. Once the keys are in hand, we want to make the place our own. It’s easy to forget the tenants before and after us, but it’s important that renters not forget a major rule: keep it clean.
The best apartment cleaning checklist should cover a lot of ground, so let’s divide it up into Cleaning Supplies, Plan of Action, and a Don’t Forget section.
Get Ready to Clean
Get cleaning supplies ready before you start, to make the process easier and faster. Make sure you have:
- Basic tools: broom, dustpan, mop, vacuum, buckets, toilet brush. A couple of old toothbrushes also come in handy for crevices and grout.
- There may be no such thing as too many rags, rubber gloves, scouring/scrubbing pads, and sponges.
- Basic liquid and foam: cleaners for glass, tile, and general surface wiping and scrubbing. Buy extra empty spray bottles if it’s a team effort.
- Special products: linseed oil for wood (or a 3:1 olive oil/vinegar mixture), oven cleaner, products for tile build-up, etc.
- Soap and/or hand sanitizer for you.
Some Natural Alternative Supplies
If you don’t care for commercial products and prefer more natural supplies:
- Diluted white vinegar cleans well.
- Baking soda scours and, rinsed with vinegar, cleans stainless steel.
- Lemon cuts grease and deodorizes.
- Hydrogen peroxide kills mold and disinfects. Salt in water also disinfects.
- Club soda cleans glass and fixtures.
- Newspaper wipes mirrors and windows without leaving lint residue.
Cleaning Plan of Action
Do one step of the process throughout the apartment, not all the steps in one room at a time. The recommended order for efficient cleaning is:
- Scrub the walls first. This is also a good time to clean inside cabinets.
- Dust everything, from high to low. Remember crown molding, baseboards, tops of cabinets, ceiling fans/light fixtures, closet shelves, and window blinds.
- Sweep all floors.
- Vacuum where required.
- Finish with a mop as a final clean of any lingering shmutz.
The logical, top-down order here will save you from having to do the same steps twice.
Don’t Forget Special Projects!
Remember all these special cleaning projects as you go through your plan:
- Scrub the toilet. Vinegar works here, too.
- Clean grout and other crevices, nooks, and crannies, in any room. Corners of shelves and cabinets, hinges, etc. can collect grime.
- Clean inside the oven, all parts of the fridge, and other appliances, like the built-in microwave.
- If your AC is built in, clean or change the filter if necessary.
- Sanitize handles and door knobs.
Clean is Win-Win
As a renter, you fulfill a responsibility to the landlord by keeping the apartment clean. Not only that, you will live healthier and happier for as long as this clean environment is your home!
Lin Nulman has an MFA in Creative Writing and teaches at Bunker Hill Community College. Freelancing on and off for years, she has written educational materials, arts reviews, and in 2017, about real estate for HomeLight.com. Her WordPress blog is called The Creative Part-Timer.